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Medical MonopolyIntellectual Property Rights and the Origins of the Modern Pharmaceutical Industry$
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Joseph M. Gabriel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226108186

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226108216.001.0001

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Monopoly and Ethics in the Antebellum Years

Monopoly and Ethics in the Antebellum Years

(p.42) Chapter Two Monopoly and Ethics in the Antebellum Years
Medical Monopoly

Joseph M. Gabriel

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines patents and trademarks in the antebellum period as it applied to the drug market. It argues that most manufacturers did not obtain patents on their goods, and that patent medicine manufacturers were unable to use early trademark law to protect their interests because trademarked names were assumed to be designating in nature and could therefore be freely adopted by competitors. The chapter also examines the origins of the American Medical Association and the conflict over Thomas Morton’s patent on ether. It further argues that a segment of pharmaceutical manufacturers self-consciously adopted the norms of the orthodox medical ethics, thereby rejecting the use of patents or secrecy for their goods. Finally, it examines early efforts by therapeutic reformers to pass laws regulating the practice of pharmacy and discusses the pharmacopeia.

Keywords:   patents, trademarks, patent medicine, American Medical Association, pharmacopeia, medical ethics, pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy, Thomas Morton, ether

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